Volunteering is a great way to meet local people and practise speaking English outside school. It also looks good on your CV, if you are looking for a job here. In addition, it allows many people to work in their own professional area – it is very important for employers in the UK to see that you have experience of working in your own field in an English-speaking environment.

The best place to start looking for a volunteer position is the Edinburgh Volunteer Centre. Why? Because it has lists of many of the different volunteer positions in the whole city of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Volunteer Centre

There are a lot of different types of volunteer opportunities. Many of our students have found jobs in charity jobs, as a way of interacting more with local people. This can be a way of making friends: Gloria goes out with her co-workers from her charity shop every week when the shop closes.

Other openings are in sport or the media, and you might have to look for these yourself.

  • Ismael wanted to use his background in Art History, so he started volunteering at the National Museum of Scotland, and was soon leading guided tours on their education programme.
  • Antonio volunteered for several months with Historic Scotland as a surveyor, actually managing projects on this basis. He is now employed as s surveyor for Historic Scotland, and has a wonderful architectural vocabulary.
  • Manuel found a way of using his interest in history to become a volunteer guide, working with a team of local enthusiasts, in St Giles Cathedral in the Royal Mile – right in the heart of the Old Town.
  • Maria volunteered as a classroom assistant in a local state nursery school, worked as part of the teaching team there, and got invaluable practice in English in an educational context.
  • Mariola started volunteering for Leith Festival, then moved on to actually producing photos and leaflets for the Edinburgh Volunteer Centre.
“Volunteering at the Volunteer Centre Edinburgh has helped me in so many ways. I think it’s one of the main reasons why I’m still living in Edinburgh. I wanted to do it because I thought it was going to be good for my practise of English, and it was amazing. Thanks to volunteering I met a lot of people, I made new friends and, what’s more important, I felt part of the team. The VCE was looking for a Social Media Youth Volunteer who could film and edit videos about young people volunteering. And I studied Journalism Audio Visual Communication in Spain, so that was perfect for me. I knew it was not paid, but I felt like I was doing a paid job, and I was learning new skills, also improving what I already knew. And I’ve always felt very lucky because I’m doing what I love doing.
I have found some paid jobs thanks to my volunteering. Two projects related to making short films. And now I’m trying to get into college to study Television, so I could gain more experience in this field.”
Mariola Garcia, My experience of volunteering